If the prospect of friendly banter with new acquaintances scares you, read these 9 fun facts about wine to use as an icebreaker at your next social event!
1) Cheers! Why we clink the cups
Allegedly, the ancient Romans would clink their glasses together to spill wine into each other’s cups to ensure that they weren’t being poisoned at dinner parties. While this seems logical, some historians have claimed to it to be bogus, as it was discovered the host usually had the first sip of wine.
“Cheers-ing” may actually have been started by the ancient Greeks who would cheers to one another’s health. This is what also started the “toasts,” where it was commonplace to put a piece of toast in the wine to soak up some of the harsh chemicals. They weren’t making our standard of vintages – that’s for certain!
2) The world’s oldest person swears by what?
Jeanne Calment, the world’s oldest documented woman, lived until she was 122-years-old and had a very interesting diet, which she claimed is what kept her healthy. Her diet consisted of olive oil, Port wine, and 2.2 pounds of chocolate each week. If this isn’t enough to get you drinking Port, I’m not sure what is!
3) Wine and romance…
An Australian study found that women who drank two glasses of wine a day reported a more active sex life compared to women who don’t drink at all. Another study found that people who drank a glass of wine were viewed as more attractive to the opposite sex. This was apparently due to a healthy facial flush, a more friendly appearance, and a bigger smile. We’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions on this one.
4) Wine is good for your health
So while this may not be a little-known fact, it’s still worth mentioning that drinking wine in moderation has been proven to be good for your health. Recent research has come to the conclusion that drinking 1-2 glasses a day can reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other common health problems. Also, drinking wine has proven to be good for your waistline. Women who drink two glasses of wine a day are, on average, 10 pounds lighter than women who don’t indulge. Experts say this is because wine gives your metabolism a boost, and also because for some, wine acts as a replacement for dessert.
5) There is such a thing of wine-phobia
With all of this chat about wine being good for this and that, it might seem crazy to think that some people actually have a fear of wine. This fear is called “oenophobia,” which is defined as the hatred of wine. According to researchers, it’s not necessarily a fear of wine itself, but a phobia of the upper class, which supposedly makes wine guilty by association.
6) A French chemist created and sold wine mixed with cocaine
It sounds strange, but it’s true. A French chemist by the name Angelo Mariani made a fortune by selling red wine mixed with cocaine. This wine tonic was called the “Vin Mariana” and was enjoyed and endorsed by Queen Victoria, President McKinley, and Pope Leo XIII. This tonic is widely considered to be the ancestor of present day Coca-Cola.
7) The world’s oldest bottle of wine is very old
The world’s oldest (known) bottle of wine is the Speyer Wine Bottle and it is an astounding 1,650 years old. The bottle was originally found in 1867 during an excavation of a 4th-century AD Roman nobleman’s tomb, outside the village of Speyer, Germany. In 2011, scientists debated opening the bottle – its preservation attributed to a large amount of added olive oil to seal off the air – but as of now, it remains unopen. Oenology professor, Monika Christmann of Hochschule Geisenheim University has been quoted saying, “Micro-biologically, it is probably not spoiled, but it would not bring joy to the palate.”
8) Vatican City drinks the most wine per capita
If you look at the California Wine Institute’s list of top wine consuming countries in the world, the usual suspects – such as France, Italy, and the United States – sit at the top. However, if you were to organize the list by wine consumption per person, the results get a little more interesting. Vatican City – a city state within Italy consisting of around 850 people – tops the list of the most wine consumption per person. Italy, strangely enough, doesn’t even crack the top 10.
9) Drinking wine may keep your memory sharp
Last but by no means least, drinking wine may keep your memory sharp. In a study of more than 12,000 elderly women, it was found that those who drank moderate amounts of alcohol daily had about a 20 per cent lower risk of experiencing problems with their memory later in life. There you go – drinking wine will help you remember these 9 wine facts better!
Hopefully this new-found knowledge will come in handy as an ice breaker at some point this holiday season. Cheers!